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Day 14 – Q 4.Suggest a roadmap to tap India’s real potential in the livestock sector. Identify key focus areas to achieve the same.

4. Suggest a roadmap to tap India’s real potential in the livestock sector. Identify key focus areas to achieve the same. 

पशुधन क्षेत्र में भारत की वास्तविक क्षमता का दोहन करने के लिए एक रोडमैप का सुझाव दें। उसी को प्राप्त करने के लिए प्रमुख फोकस क्षेत्रों की पहचान करें।


Livestock plays an important role in the Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock provides a livelihood to two-thirds of the rural community. It also provides employment to about 8.8 % of the population in India, largely to rural women. The livestock sector contributes 4.11% GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP.


Animal husbandry is an integral component of Indian agriculture. Livestock provides nutrient-rich food products, draught power, dung as organic manure and domestic fuel, hides & skin, and are a regular source of cash income for rural households. They are a natural capital, which can be easily reproduced to act as a living bank with offspring as interest, and insurance against income shocks of crop failure and natural calamities.

 According to the 19th Livestock Census, Livestock resources of India are as follows:

  • World’s highest livestock owner at about 512.05 million.
  • First in the total buffalo population in the world – 105.3 million buffaloes.
  • Second in the population of cattle and goats – 140.5 million goats.
  • First in milk production in the world.
  • Second largest poultry market in the world – production of 63 billion eggs and 649 million poultry meat.
  • Third in the population of sheep (72 million).
  • Fifth in the population of ducks and chicken.
  • Tenth in camel population in the world.

Still, there remains a huge gap between the potential and the realized yields in Indian livestock. Only 50-60% of the livestock potential is realized in different regions of the country because of constraints related to feeding, breeding, health and management. 

Areas which need to be focused to realize the true potential of Livestock:

In order to harness the full potential of livestock following areas need attention.


  • Livestock derives a major part of their energy requirement from agricultural byproducts and residues. Hardly 5% of the cropped area is utilized to grow fodder. India has a deficit in dry fodder by 11%, green fodder by 35% and concentrates feed by 28%. The common grazing lands too have been deteriorating quantitatively and qualitatively.

Scientific Advancement:

  • Improving productivity in a huge population of low-producing animals is one of the major challenges. The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50% of the global average. Likewise, the meat yield of most species is 20-60% lower than the world average.
  • Crossbreeding of indigenous species with exotic stocks to enhance the genetic potential of different species has been successful only to a limited extent owing to a deficiency in the quality germplasm, infrastructure and technical manpower.

Health Services:

  • Frequent outbreaks of diseases continue to affect livestock health and productivity. India has about 55000 veterinary institutions including polyclinics, hospitals, dispensaries and stockman centres. Veterinary and animal health services are largely in the public sector domain and remain poor. 

Trade and Market mechanism:

  • Globalization will create avenues for increased participation in international trade, stringent food safety and quality norms would be required. The global market for animal products is expanding fast and is an opportunity for India to improve its participation in the global market. 
  • Access to markets is critical to speed up the commercialization of livestock production. Except for poultry products and to some extent for milk, markets for livestock and livestock products are underdeveloped, irregular and lack transparency. Further, these are often dominated by informal market intermediaries who exploit the producers. Moreover, marketing and transaction costs of livestock products are high taking 15-20% of the sale price.


  • The sector received only about 12% of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP. The sector has been neglected by financial institutions.

Institutional Support: 

  • The institutional mechanisms to protect animals against risk are not strong enough. Currently, only 6% of the animal heads (excluding poultry) are provided insurance cover. 
  • Only about 5% of the farm households in India access information on livestock technology. These indicate an apathetic outreach of the information delivery systems.

Supporting Facilities:

  • Slaughtering facilities are too inadequate. About half of the total meat production comes from un-registered, make-shift slaughterhouses.
  • Develop Forward linkages for wool, fibre, meat and milk such as cold storage, food processing industries and textile industries for the consumption of livestock produced.

Schemes/Policies Launched for the Livestock Sector by the Government:

  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission
  • National Programme for Bovine Breeding and Dairy Development (NPBBD)
  • National Livestock Mission: Which has 4 sub-missions in it,
    • Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed Development
    • Sub-Mission on Livestock Development
    • Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region
    • Sub-Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension


The growth in the livestock sector is demand-driven, inclusive and pro-poor. The extent to which the potential of livestock can be harnessed would depend on how technology, institutions, policies and financial support address the constraints of the sector.  The growth of the livestock sector would have more effect on poverty reduction and will contribute to Doubling farmer income by 2022.

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